From the physics of interacting polymers to optimizing routes on the London Underground

Chi Ho YEUNG, David SAAD, K. Y. Michael WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Optimizing paths on networks is crucial for many applications, ranging from subway traffic to Internet communication. Because global path optimization that takes account of all path choices simultaneously is computationally hard, most existing routing algorithms optimize paths individually, thus providing suboptimal solutions. We use the physics of interacting polymers and disordered systems to analyze macroscopic properties of generic path optimization problems and derive a simple, principled, generic, and distributed routing algorithm capable of considering all individual path choices simultaneously. We demonstrate the efficacy of the algorithm by applying it to: (i) random graphs resembling Internet overlay networks, (ii) travel on the London Underground network based on Oyster card data, and (iii) the global airport network. Analytically derived macroscopic properties give rise to insightful new routing phenomena, including phase transitions and scaling laws, that facilitate better understanding of the appropriate operational regimes and their limitations, which are difficult to obtain otherwise. Copyright © 2013 The author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13717-13722
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume110
Issue number34
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

Citation

Yeung, C. H., Saad, D., & Wong, K. Y. M. (2013). From the physics of interacting polymers to optimizing routes on the London Underground. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(34), 13717-13722. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301111110

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'From the physics of interacting polymers to optimizing routes on the London Underground'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.